Observer Today July 17, 2017

Published on: July 17, 2017

Good morning! I hate to break this to you so early but…it’s Monday. On the plus side, we woke up, right?

Oh, and hopefully you’ve had some coffee because it’s a palindrome day. 71717 is identical either forwards or backwards. Actually, we’ve had a week or more of that. This one just has lots of sevens.

Perhaps even more surprising (for some of us) is that school is going to start in less than four weeks. With higher grocery bills, summers can be hard on families scraping to get by. But the start of school? Even more difficult. It generally isn’t cheap to buy all that is needed and there isn’t always money available.

Check out Yvette Hammett’s article about the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA giving away 1,000 backpacks, filled with school supplies.

Today’s weather: “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy!” From the National Weather Service Office in Ruskin:

“Scattered showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 91. Heat index values as high as 103. Southeast wind 5 to 9 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 40%.”

Overnight? Scattered showers and thunderstorms mainly before 2 a.m. I’ll give you one guess as to the low…………yep. 76. It could be worse.

Personal forecast: Continuing with the Summertime / Chicago lyrics: “So hush, little baby, don’t you cry.” Seriously, this is as good as it is going to get until October. We got this, right? I’m sure there’s a study somewhere showing that humidity is good for you.

Eye on the tropics: Two disturbances in the Force. Both long, long ways from home but still… From the National Hurricane Center:

For the North Atlantic…Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

A small low pressure system located about 800 miles east of the Windward Islands is moving westward at about 15 mph. Associated shower and thunderstorm activity is beginning to show some signs of organization, and environmental conditions are forecast to be marginally conducive for some development of this system before it reaches the Lesser Antilles in two to three days. After that time, less favorable upper-level winds are expected to hinder additional development. An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the disturbance this afternoon, if necessary.
* Formation chance through 48 hours…medium…40 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days…medium…50 percent.

An area of disturbed weather has developed several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. Some development of this system is possible over the next several days while it moves slowly toward the west-northwest or northwest over the open Atlantic Ocean.
* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…10 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days…low…20 percent.

What to do?

Monday is a good chill day. Just be cool, get through it and….well, tomorrow is Tuesday. Never mind.

At the SouthShore Regional Library we have Floss and Friends (no teeth required — this is art, not dental hygienics) at 12:30 and a 2 p.m. movie matinee featuring, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, rated PG-13. According to the description it is: “The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.”

Seriously? New York? I leave New York but New York never leaves anyone apparently. Just last week we had George Steinbrenner…

Oh, hey — check out a book or two at the library, too. It’s what they do best.

The SouthShore Regional Library schedule is found here:

Busch Gardens in Tampa celebrates “Summer Nights” with extended hours.

Check out what’s playing at the Ruskin Family Drive-In.

Happenings in Hillsborough:

Just an FYI, the news desk received a press release about first responders with Tampa Fire Rescue receiving oxygen masks for pets suffering from smoke inhalation, etc. We’ll have more about that — but seriously…that is cool. And speaking of which, in the massive sinkhole in Pasco County last week, first responders went into homes to save pets. For as crazy as the world thinks Florida is? Yeah, maybe. But there are far more really good and decent people here than just those who call 911 because they feel they’ve been shorted on Chicken McNuggets (yes, that actually happened).

There are Land Use and Zone Hearing meetings tomorrow. Generally not the stuff for normal humans. But anything is possible.

Check out the Hillsborough County calendar here:

Happenings in Manatee:

Tomorrow, July 18, check out the “Sunset Dip Net” at Emerson Point Preserve from 6 to 8 p.m. The description: “Get ready to explore what lies beneath the waves as we dip net at beautiful Emerson Point Preserve. Come discover the wide variety of unique creatures that live on our shorelines and learn how to identify them. You’ll meet marvelous mollusks, sensational sea grasses, and maybe some cool crustaceans! For this program, be sure to bring closed toed shoes that can get wet and a towel. Program suitable for adults 18 and older.”

Reservations are required. Email or call 941-742-5923 ext. 6036

The county calendar is located here:

The print edition of The North Manatee Observer News also contains numerous things to get you out of the house and into the beauty of Manatee County.

News to know:

Print is the new cool. The Observer News website contains only a small portion of what is in the print editions (yes, there are four editions!). Pick one up. If you can’t find one (well, you won’t find one in New Hampshire or some place like that), then email me and I’ll help.

By NASA/Bill Ingalls –, Public Domain,

And, in the end:

On this day in 1962, we (meaning The United States of America) performed our last atmospheric (meaning we just blew the daylights out of everything, above ground, in broad daylight) test of a nuclear weapon in Nevada. It was named the “Small Boy Test Shot”, the weapon was named “Little Feller 1.” Really? Making nuclear weapons soft, fuzzy and likable? We are so good at a lot of stuff, and that’s no joke.

And just a few years before on this day in 1955, Disneyland opened for the very first time in Anaheim, California. Also, on this day in 1955, a large area southwest of Orlando was mostly populated by alligators and snakes. Who could have guessed what was to come?

And, in the end…on this day in 2009, Uncle Walter signed off for the final time. Walter Cronkite, born in 1916, passed away at the age of 92 in New York City. He was the anchorman for CBS News from 1962 to 1981 and was considered, “The Most Trusted Man in America.” He is credited with so many things but consider this: Walter Cronkite, like few others, carried this nation through tumult and triumph and he did it with grace, compassion and humanity while never losing sight of the integrity of a true journalist. From the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the Space Shuttle, Walter Cronkite provided a base for a nation sometimes in need of a leader. That is not a role he would have chosen, but he filled it when needed.

A few years ago, I was at a marina in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. A large sailboat was being launched and a small crowd had gathered. “That was Walter Cronkite’s boat,” someone whispered to me with reverence. For long-time area residents who remember Bob Hite on WFLA Channel 8, Cronkite was “Uncle Walter.” Hite’s father had been involved with CBS for years and was friends with Cronkite. Bob Hite grew up with Uncle Walter visiting his house. Oh — and sailing… Cronkite was a sailor up to his last days. That must have been passed off to his “nephew.” When Bob Hite came to Tampa from Philadelphia, he did so by sailing his boat, Kinship, down the east coast.

For those of us of a certain age, the world has never been the same without Walter Cronkite. But then to that, perhaps his departing catchphrase is most appropriate: “And that’s the way it is.”


Have a great Monday. We’ll see you tomorrow.

By Mitch Traphagen

Observer Today is a morning briefing out (usually) by 7 a.m. (or so) and updated until around 10 a.m. Do you have news tips or suggestions for this feature? Please email or leave a comment.